The Adventure Begins

A new era had begun as I unlocked the padlock on a new exciting adventure! It was the first time I had walked the banks of my new syndicate, I had only a few minutes prior purchasing the ticket from the estate office! As I took a stroll round for the first time I was overwhelmed by the peace and quiet that the place offered. The complex is literally in the middle of nowhere!

The lake I have chosen to spend my time on is also shrouded in secrecy, just what I like. The lake is a ex-trout fishery that has always contained a few old carp but added to these was a mixture of different strains so it’s really a mixed bunch.

It’s as very mature venue with reed beds and large trees surrounding its confines. Platforms stretching out into the deep margins of some swims really add to the special feel of the lake.

Recently my job has changed so I was on limited fishing time, mostly just fishing overnighters to quench my enthusiasm! The main problem with my overnighters during the week is that I would have to be packed up by 5:15am to get to work. This was a real struggle to get to grips with as I felt I was reeling in just before it was going to happen.

My first four nights passed without success but the lake had really got under my skin and I was buzzing for any future success. I was spending as many hours as I could walking the banks trying to work out the habits of the lakes jewels. I was also baiting a few spots that looked likely looking areas.

I had seen fish in plenty of the areas the only problem was I hadn't stumbled upon an obvious feeding spot, so I decided to bait an area heavily and see if they would oblige.

I chose an area near a reed bed where I had seen many fish showing in the mornings. The area seemed to be quiet not once had I seen a single angler fishing the area.

After baiting the spot for 2 weeks I was gradually beginning to notice the area was changing in size. I couldn't view the spot as it was too deep but the marker rod told the story. I knew the spot was looking promising as one evening as I neared the swim to bait up a large fish erupted with an almighty crash. The frothy patch the fish had left behind was bang on my pre baited spot.

I had a three-night session coming up the following week so decided to bait the spot even more heavily.

As I pulled through the gate the following week I couldn't help but feel massively confident that I was going to reap the rewards of all my hard efforts.

I stuck to simple rigs constructed from Semi Stiff N-Trap in Silt and my ever faithful size six Wide Gape X. A plastic slow sinking Fake Food dumbbell completed the trap. I incorporated three feet of leadcore to combat the reeds and the weed near the spot with a Hybrid Lead Clips as dropping the lead was essential.

Bait-wise I was using Mainline’s Cell and Active 8 a combination that has worked well for me in the past. I spread a kilo over the area and fished 2 rods on the spot that had clearly been heavily fed on. The other rod was waded down the margin and placed on a small clear spot. A few broken baits completed the margin spot.

When I awoke at first light I was shocked at the realisation that the night had past uneventfully. It was around 08:30am when I started to see the odd sign of fish in the area, very subtle pinprick bubbles signaling a heightened level of anticipation. By 10am I was just about to call it a day, when the left rod absolutely ripped off with line pouring from the tight clutch. I picked up the rod and was automatically forced to give line as an angry fish headed away from the reed bed and into open water. As I slowed the initial run down a large boil appeared on the inky surface.

Panic set in as I noticed a 12ft branch hanging from my mainline. This was accompanied by large amounts of silkweed aspiring to make retrieving the fish just that little bit harder. Every few meters of line I gained saw me ripping clumps of the nasty green slime from the line. The branch luckily came adrift a few meters from the bank.

Finally the fish came into view, I could see golden scales twisting in the depths as a deep bodied common fought for freedom. After a few more nervous moments I could see the fish was near to being beaten a few last fleeting bids for freedom and the dark looking common was soon within the confines of the mesh. I was over the moon with my prize at 27lb+ it was a great start to.

Unfortunately I was then to suffer 4 losses during next 2 nights due to the poor line lay and poor hook holds the silk weed making it near on impossible to raise my line and be in direct contact with the fish. One of the losses felt like a very large fish and one I would really like to have seen it in my net. Next time maybe.

I decided, after loosing so many fish, I would try to improve my line angle, there was a small gap (basically a hole in the bush) that used to be a swim but hadn't been fished for some time. After a bit of clearing I was now able to get a different angle onto my spot hopefully this would improve my ratio of hooked to fish landed.

After the change of swim the following two nights resulted in a further two fish, a common (26lb) and a fully scaled mirror. I was over the moon with the mirror a truly stunning fish and one of the best looking fish I have in my album.

The spot seemed to dry up after the capture of the fully scaled. I continued to bait the spot but decided to try another area of the lake. I figured that the lack of lines and constant baiting would bring them back to the area in time.

The following week I was once again unlocking the padlock to my hidden paradise. After spending a few hours looking around the deep pit I had very little to go on! Recalling on my previous trip I dropped into a swim that I’d noticed fish activity.

I'm glad I did as over the next four nights in the new swim I put a further nice fish on the bank including some absolute stunners worthy of a place in anyone's album. One special capture was a Koi that had only ever been caught once before. It's a unique fish and I felt truly privileged to hold such a special creature. I also landed some cracking looking commons to over thirty pounds.

I was told five fish a year was good going for the lake when I started. To have had 17 runs, landing 12 fish in 13 nights told a story itself. I was made up with my results and feel that after the hard work I had put in, I’m starting to reap the rewards.

I'm beginning to feel that I’m a step closer to uncovering some of the lakes ‘unknown’ residents.

Bag a biggun

Craig Runham